Elon Musk says Apple doesn't really 'blow people's minds' anymore

  • Elon Musk says that Apple's products don't blow people's minds anymore.

  • He added that Apple still makes great phones, though.

  • He's called Apple the "Tesla graveyard" in the past, suggesting that Tesla employees that don't work out often land at Apple.

Tesla CEO and celebrity entrepreneur Elon Musk took some time out of his busy schedule boosting Model 3 production and running SpaceX to sit down with Recode's Kara Swisher for an hour-long interview.

Although he didn't smoke weed this time, he did blow some figurative smoke at Apple, Tesla's Silicon Valley neighbor and a company that Tesla is frequently compared to, even if their financial situations are worlds apart.

"There’s not many products you can buy that really make you happier. And so Apple did that for a long time, I still think, obviously, that Apple makes great phones," Musk said, explaining that Tesla aims to make a car that makes people really happy.

"I still use an iPhone and everything. But Apple used to really bring out products that would blow people’s minds, you know?" he continued. "And still make great products, but there’s less of that."

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Musk then predicted that Apple's next iPhone, which he called the "iPhone 11," might not draw as much consumer attention — at least compared with Tesla's famous 450,000-long Model 3 waiting list.

"I don’t think people are necessarily running to the store for the iPhone 11. But I think with Tesla, we really want to make products that people just love, that are heart-stopping," Musk said.

Musk has sniped at Apple in the past, calling it the "Tesla graveyard," suggesting that employees that couldn't hack it at his company went to work at Apple. But employees go back and forth between the companies all the time. In August, Doug Field, a former Tesla engineering executive who oversaw Model 3 production, ended up back at Apple.

Musk may be tapping into a growing view on Apple products. This year, when the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max went on sale, the lines outside Apple stores were not as long as they used to be. When the less expensive iPhone XR — the "Model 3" to the iPhone XR's "Model S" — was released a month later, there weren't lines at all.

Still, Apple would probably argue that "running to the store" doesn't accurately capture consumer interest for the iPhone, instead pointing to smaller surveys that say customer satisfaction for the iPhone is 98%.

But that criticism may sting a little bit more coming from a Silicon Valley legend who makes cars that Apple's own employees love.

You can listen to the entire interview over at Recode.

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